The Portsmouth boss said: “Everybody keeps saying how well Martin has done at Villa but what we have achieved here is a miracle.
“Villa are a massive club and the team Martin inherited was far better than the one I had when I came back in December.
“At this stage last season we only had 10 points and it looked like we were dead and buried.
“We went on a great run at the end of the season to stay up and have kept that going.
“If you had told me then we would be third in the Premiership a year later, I’d have said you were a nutter.
“There is a lot of talk about great managers doing great things with poor teams because they are great coaches, but that is rubbish. It is about who has got the best players.
“Martin has done a terrific job and I always knew he would.
“But I would love players like Gareth Barry and Stiliyan Petrov in my team. I tried to sign them both in the summer.
“I am happy just doing my job quietly but everyone needs a pat on the back. Everybody needs to be told they have done a good job – and I am no different.
“Topping last season would be difficult. Getting into Europe would be another amazing achievement but it’s still early days.
“I have said all along that the top four would be Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool and I stand by that.
“The UEFA Cup places are up for grabs and that is what teams like us and Villa have to aim for.”